GALLERY GUIDO SKETCH: May on Manoeuvres

Theresa May. She may not, of course. She has a voice impediment and prime ministerial hopefuls don’t need one of them.

When rattled, or on shaky ground, or telling a big fat out-and-out copper-bottomed falsehood – her voice wobbles. It breaks up and down. She’s like Jimmy Savile waggling his cigar and warbling. That’s quite an impediment for a would-be prime minister of our great island nation. We don’t want our first citizen to be channelling a pop-crazy, chain-smoking paedophile. That is one modernisation too far.

This was going to be a sketch of comic invention until it was revealed that our preventative arrangements for Bulgarian migrants have consisted of one policeman visiting the Carpathian mountains and telling villagers not to come.

The Government has made no attempt to predict how many will come. It is perfectly possible to do a study (there is a thing called market research) but the fellow who might have done it said he was never asked.

Would there be any special arrangements? Any monitoring of flights at Luton airport to count the numbers coming in? “It will be business as usual,” Mrs May said. That’s not even an ambition.

Her permanent secretary had made the error of promising an Olympic-style system of procedures. Or as she repeated: “Very much business as usual.”

That’s doing no more than usual but doing more of it.

Mark Reckless asked, “Will we hit our target?” That is, to reduce immigration to under 100,000 a year. She said, “It remains our aim to work towards the target.”

Or as we non-prime-ministerial-hopefuls say: “No.”

In the absence of doing anything tough, effective and sensible now, the thing to do would be to leak a document saying that amazingly tough, effective and sensible things (“illegal and undeliverable” things according to Clegg) would be done in the subjunctive future. No more than 75,000 EU migrants would be allowed here.

Theresa never comments on leaked documents so we are left with the impression she wants to do this, without incurring any obligation.

She has created an asset without a liability. That’s talent.

Perhaps Theresa may after all.




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